Y had left a comment in my last blog about the terrific Bangalore traffic. Now before the Bangalore lovers go after Y with a bludger, let me hasten to add that she had very nice things to say about Bangalore and was merely inquiring about the state of traffic as it is today in Bangalore.
As anyone who has heard anything about Bangalore would know, talking about traffic in Bangalore is as good a conversation filler as talking about the weather in any other part of the world. Everyone cribs about it, everyone hates it but everyone will go out and purchase two cars for the family and think it is beneath them to use public transport.
Y's comment set me thinking about all my favorite traffic peeves that I come across everyday. My office is 3 Kms from my house and I make 3 trips between my house and office. I have been driving in Bangalore for almost 5 years now. Given my background, I think most of you will agree that I have some right to comment on the state of traffic and the general attitude of Bangaloreans on the road. So here they are, my pet peeves:
1. I hate the auto drivers. They are rude and arrogant and do not come anywhere. And when they deign to, they almost always spoil it by not giving the change back when you pay them. Needless to say, most of my auto journeys always end up in unpleasantness. They are my most favorite peeve to date.
2. I do not like the way Bangalore treats its pedestrians. I mean, for heaven's sake, you do not want to drive in the maddening traffic and so you decide to walk. And what happens? You literally are putting yourself in mortal danger by crossing the road. Apparently, the 2 seconds that the car guy has to wait to let me cross the road will cost him his life.
3. The other day, hubby and I were driving and we saw this most horrifying sight. This poor guy who was standing on the edge of the platform suddenly had a swooning fit and fell on the road. A car almost trampled him but thankfully stopped just in time. And NOT ONE motorist stopped to help the poor guy back on to the platform. (In our defence, we were quite far away when this happened and by the time we got there, some pedestrians had helped him.)
4. I completely go nuts at the insane one ways that Bangalore Traffic Police dreams up of. Its like Vadivelu asked in a famous comic track...okkandhu yosippangalo(I think they strive to come up with more and more innovative ways to pain the population more!)
But just when I thought the soul of the commuting Bangalorean is tainted beyond redemption, I noticed certain things over the last few weeks which have given me hope.
* Like the time when a dog stood in line at the Zebra crossing and crossed with great aplomb when it was its turn and everyone stopped for a second to smile.
* Or like the time when a cop stopped the menacing traffic on all four sides to hold a bunch of kids by their hands and help them across the road.
*And today morning, where this maniacal Toyota Innova guy almost pushed me off the road to overtake me, only to stop a few yards later, to let an old woman cross the road.
*Or the calf, which just sat nonchalantly, bang in the middle of Banerghatta Road and the laughing cop who was trying to move it.
So you see guys, there is still a flicker there somewhere. There is hope yet. I think if we all made an effort to stop everytime a child or an aged person is trying to cross the road and just let them, we will make Bangalore a lot less petrifying for them..and in the process, we will learn a wee bit of patience ourselves.